Spain town bids to house nuclear waste dump
A small Spanish town council voted to house a long-delayed national nuclear waste dump, state radio said.
A small Spanish town council on Thursday voted to house a long-delayed national nuclear waste dump, the only local authority to do so with the Jan. 31 deadline for bids looming, state radio said.
The ruling Popular Party in Yebra, 80 km (50 miles) east of Madrid, defeated the Socialist Party group by five votes to two after a heated debate.
"The motion is approved," mayor Juan Pedro Sanchez said on broadcast by radio station RNE.
Sanchez said the town needed the waste dump to offset the loss of jobs due to the 2006 closure of a nuclear power station in nearby Zorita.
Environmental group Ecologistas en Accion has opposed the move, saying high level radioactive waste remains toxic for hundreds of thousands of years.
The head of government in Castilla-La Mancha, the region where Yebra lies, suggested on his local authority website that the dump be located in neighbouring Catalonia.
"Asco is an excellent site," Jose Maria Barreda said, referring to a nuclear power station near the eastern port of Tarragona.
Spain's central government called for bids last month to house high-level nuclear waste for up to 60 years.
The country's nuclear power stations no longer have room to store much more than the 6,700 tonnes of spent fuel rods they have accumulated.
The government has estimated the project will cost 540 million euros ($767 million), create 300 jobs and cover 20 hectares.
The United Nations' nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, in 2008 recommended Spain step up efforts to find a purpose-built site for storing high-level nuclear waste.
Reuters Last Mod: 22 Ocak 2010, 02:40